Sports

May 18, 2024

Fury vs Usyk: Current, ex-boxers offer insights, predictions; who’ll triumph in the ring?

FURY VS USYK

Britain’s Tyson Fury (L) and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (R) face-off during the official weigh-in on the eve of their heavyweight world boxing championship fight in Riyadh on May 17, 2024. (Photo by Yasser al-UMARI / AFP)

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will face off in a historic clash billed as the fight of a generation on Saturday. Victory for either Usyk or Fury today will create the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in 24 years.

Initially scheduled for February, the bout was postponed due to Fury’s facial injury.

Fury holds the WBC belt, while Usyk took Joshua’s IBF, WBA, and WBO titles in 2021, winning their rematch in Jeddah a year later. Boxing has recognised four major belts since the 2000s.

Both fighters have impeccable records—Fury is 34-0-1 with 24 knockouts, Usyk 21-0 with 14 KOs — and engrossing backstories.

Ahead of the bout, Fury weighed in at 262 pounds (118.8 kilos), more than 15lb lighter than his last outing, while Usyk was 233.5lb, significantly heavier than his customary 221lb.

Opinions are split over the outcome, with some tipping the rangy, street-smart “Gypsy King” Fury and others backing the supreme skills and fitness of Usyk.

British-Nigerian boxer Anthony Joshua, speaking ahead of the bout, says he expects Usyk to defeat Fury.

‘I’ve fought Usyk, so I can only speak on what I’ve experienced with him – phenomenal fighter, I would say he’s going to do a really good job, I’ve never fought Fury, so I can’t speak on what it’s like to face him.

Only speaking on what I know, I have to say Usyk will be victorious,” he told TalkSport.

Former British professional boxer, Amir Khan says, “It’s a massive fight for boxing and for the heavyweight division. I just lean more towards Tyson in this fight. As we get closer to the fight I feel like Tyson might be a little bit too thin. I’m going to stick with Fury to win the fight. But there could be a few scares in the fight.”

Former world champion and Usyk opponent Tony Bellew says, “Usyk wins on points. If the judges read the fight properly and judge it properly, I can see it being a unanimous decision. The only way I see it getting close is if we have incompetent judging,” he told the BBC.

Two-time UFC champion Conor McGregor says, “Usyk is a crafty, crafty boxer. If anybody can do it, maybe Usyk can do it. Tyson is also a crafty boxer, plus he has the size. Tyson is a tough man to beat in the boxing arena.”

Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield: “It can go either way. It all depends if Usyk fights the right fight.”

Last undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis: “I think Tyson Fury should win it by points,” according to the BBC.

Fury and Usyk, who have a rematch clause, stand to profit handsomely from the fight, with reports claiming the Briton will bank at least £100 million ($127 million).

The undercard matches will commence the event at 5 p.m., with the main bout anticipated to begin around 11 p.m. Nigerian time.